In the world of serious cinema you don’t get much fancier than the Cannes Film Festival. This is not the place to watch the latest Bayformer film or get your dose of Marvel superheroes. So when immersive VR films make it to the hallowed screens of Cannes it’s a sign that the time may have come.
The film in question is The 7th Night of Thelema, which seems very much like a title for a Cannes darling. The title is a short film and is one of two VR movies from the same creator.
To Heal the Soul of the Viewer
Those were the words of director Gianluigi Perrone when asked what the purpose of the film was for a press release. Perrone relates that it was very difficult to find a VR content producer that could make something of a quality level that would be appropriate for a cinematic experience. The provider the director settled on is a company called Immerex. You may be wondering how exactly you screen a VR film to a theatre full of people and that turns out to be Immerex’s main party trick. They’re an end-to-end provider that have their own mass HMD solution. As demonstrated by this lightly-clothed lady.
IMAGE SOURCE Immerex (Fair Use Doctrine)
What’s the Story?
The movie itself is a pretty dark one to be honest. It’s about a rather niche 20th century religion known as Thelema. Like many New Age religions, Thelema was invented by the infamous occultist Aleister Crowley.
The film put the viewer right in the middle of a Thelema ritual, which promises to be a weird and intense experience. Beyond that there’s not much detail floating about on the actual plot, but reviews should surface at some point.
VR and the Movies
Unlike 360-degree video, the VR solutions that are coming to Hollywood are promising to be much more immersive than those fun but simple YouTube clips. Stereoscopy is a given in the long run, which is one of the main reasons that those 360-degree videos look so flat and lifeless, like you’re inside a beach ball that’s being projected on from the outside.
Stereoscopy is far from the end however. Although interactivity is likely to stay within the realm of sims and video games, true spatial recording is on the horizon. The flagship hardware that comes to mind has to be the light field camera by Lytro called the Immerge. In 2016 we saw the first footage and demos of the Immerge and it’s a promising medium, that’s for sure.
Whether you like the premise of the Thelema movie or not, we should all be happy that VR is taking its place in the entertainment industry and hopefully this is just the beginning.